Sydney’s Waverley Council has released concept designs for the redevelopment of the home of the world’s first surf lifesaving club.
Bondi Surf Bathers and Life Saving Club was formed in 1907. Its clubhouse was originally built in 1934 and designed by Ross and Rowe, who also designed the Government Savings Bank of NSW building at 50 Martin Place, now headquarters of Macquarie Bank. The clubhouse is located on the land of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people.
The redevelopment project, designed by Lockhart-Krause Architects, will address functional deficiencies of the existing building, by increasing spaces for training and educational programs, and storage spaces for contemporary life saving equipment, as well as facilities for the club’s female members, who now make up 40 percent. The women’s facilities will double in size and be equal to the men’s.
The concept design proposes to remove “mock heritage” and intrusive additions to the original building, while simultaneous preserving and restoring the original club house. New lightweight additions are intended to highlight the building’s heritage.
The addition to the north (rear) of the original building will be removed and replaced with a new addition connected via a courtyard space. The architects say the courtyard references “Bondi’s unique pattern of courtyard buildings including the Bondi Beach Public School, and the Bondi Pavilion” immediately adjacent to the club building.
The courtyard space will create visual separation between the clubhouse and historic Bondi Pavilion, which will allow each to be experienced in the round, and improve access to the beach. Bondi Pavilion itself is also undergoing restoration and redevelopment to a design by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.
The main hall of the clubhouse will become a publicly accessible surf history museum dedicated to the birthplace of the surf lifesaving movement.
The design will also open up the clubhouse to the public, encouraging greater interaction and allowing the club to expand its community programs.
Waverley Council is seeking feedback on the concept designs until 17 September.